Tony-winning director (and one-time Seattleite) Bartlett Sher will present his latest touring revival of the much produced musical Fiddler on the Roof at the Paramount in January. Joan Marcus
Below, we've rounded up all of our critics' performance picks for the season, including August Wilson's Jitney, a dance piece by Brian Brooks Moving Company, and an appearance by Trevor Noah: Loud and Clear. Plus, find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this winter on our EverOut Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.


Theater



Through Sat Dec 28

A Christmas Carol ACT Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol is a dependable, simple pleasure, with just enough variation to warrant returning year after year. Kelly Kitchens will direct. (ACT Theatre, $37—$75)


Dec 5–22

Tickets are on sale now for The Stranger’s 1st Annual SLAY Film Festival!
Ghosts, zombies, slashers, witches, Eldritch beasts, gore-- SLAY has something for every horror fan!
In Community We Flourish: Education & Equity Virtual Event | Sept 30 @ Noon Free
Talk education, equity, & COVID-19. Hosted by Gates Foundation Discovery Center & Civic Commons.

Hershey Felder: Beethoven Former Stranger writer Sean Nelson described Felder as an "astonishingly gifted vocalist and pianist, not merely in terms of pure technique, but in his capacity for restraint." In this show, he takes on the roles of both Ludwig von Beethoven and his student Gerhard von Breuning while playing such beloved pieces as Moonlight Sonata and Pathetique Sonata, as well as excerpts from the famed Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $72—$77)

Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas Scott Shoemaker (Ms. Pak-Man) and illustrious friends like Mandy Price, Waxie Moon, Adé Conneré, and Faggedy Randy will lead a fearless investigation into the War on Christmas. Their weapons: "ALL NEW hilarious comedy, songs, dance numbers, amazing videos and partial nudity!" (Re-bar, $25—$85)


Sat Dec 14

Neal Kosaly-Meyer: Finnegans Wake Seattle composer, musician, and substitute teacher Neal Kosaly-Meyer will continue his amazing feat of reciting James Joyce's Finnegans Wake from memory, chapter by chapter—as if reading the modernist monster wasn't hard enough. In praise of Kosaly-Meyer's feat, Charles Mudede wrote, "Maybe this is the only way the novel could be saved. It's not all that amazing to memorize something that everyone understands; it's very impressive to memorize something understood by only one person, who has been in the grave for many years." This will be the debut of Part I, Chapter 6. (Good Shepherd Center, 7:30 pm, $5—$15)


Jan 2–19

Hershey Felder as Monsieur Chopin After his stint as Beethoven, the protean musician and actor Felder embodies the composer/pianist Fryderyk Chopin in a one-man show set just after the 1848 Revolution in France. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $72—$77)


Jan 10–18

14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival True to its name, the 14/48 Festival turns around 14 brand-new, theme-based, 10-minute plays in two days. The high-pressure nature of the event produces an evening of surprising theater for the audience, who arrive in their seats charged with expectation and anxiety for the performers. Though there are always a few experiments that don't quite come together, it's endlessly fascinating to see the way one theme filters through the minds of several very different theater artists. Expect shit to get weird. RS (ACT Theatre, 8 pm, $25)


Jan 10–Feb 2

Reparations Sound Theatre kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady's speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger print editor Christopher Frizzelle: "[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it's hard to look away from her." Jay O'Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in WET's B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talent—certainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RS (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, $5—$75)


Sat Jan 11

Dreaming in American The Jewish immigrant communities that fled pogroms and settled in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and the subsequent generations who grappled with assimilation and tradition, are the focus of Tales of the Alchemysts Theatre's performance piece based on works by Anzia Yezierska, Bernard Malamud, and Sholem Asch. (Elliott Bay Book Company, $10)


Jan 16–Feb 9

The Revolutionists ArtsWest will stage Lauren Gunderson's comedy about four strong women in perilous revolutionary France: the feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, the assassin Charlotte Corday, the prisoner Marie Antoinette, and the Haitian freedom fighter Marianne Angelle. (ArtsWest)


Jan 17–Feb 16

True West America's favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away a few years ago, but the swaggering cowboy, called the "greatest American playwright of his generation" by New York Magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CB (Seattle Repertory Theatre)


Feb 1–March 8

The Angel in the House Multitalented theater artist and playwright Sara Porkalob will direct her new dinner theater melodrama set at a New Year's Eve party in the Victorian era. When an uninvited guest shows up to the house of a textile tycoon and his socialite wife, death and shocking revelations are not far behind. (Cafe Nordo, 7:30 pm, $69)


Feb 1–16

The Best of Everything 2014 Stranger Theater Genius Valerie Curtis-Newton directs graduate actors in Julie Kramer's adaptation of Rona Jaffe's novel about ambitious women in a 1950s typing pool. (Jones Playhouse, $10—$20)


Feb 7–March 15

The Children In this Tony Award- nominated play by Lucy Kirkwood, two retired nuclear scientists on the coast of an environmentally devastated England receive a disruptive visit from an old friend. (Seattle Repertory Theatre)


Feb 12–March 8

The Turn of the Screw Book-It will adapt Henry James's chilling and ambiguous Victorian ghost novel about a naive governess who discovers what she perceives as evil supernatural influences trying to possess her two charges. Carol Roscoe will direct an adaptation by Rachel Atkins. (Book-It Repertory Theatre, $26—$50)


Feb 20–22

The Actors' Gang: The New Colossus Twelve actors of diverse origins and heritage will tell the stories of their ancestors in this tribute to the strength and courage of refugees. This touring production is directed by Tim Robbins and performed by the Actors Gang, a justice-oriented Los Angeles troupe founded in 1981. (Moore Theatre, $23—$133)


Feb 28–March 29

August Wilson's 'Jitney' After staging Two Trains Running (the seventh in the great playwright August Wilson's cycle of plays about the black American experience) in 2018, the Rep will continue with the award-winning eighth installment, Jitney, which takes place in the 1970s. The owner and employees of an unlicensed cab company, learning that the city is planning to shut them down, strives to avert disaster. (Seattle Repertory Theatre)


Children's Theater



Feb 6–March 8

Snow White Two actors will portray Snow White, the evil queen, seven dwarfs, the talking mirror, and the huntsman in this ambitious show written by Greg Banks and directed by Desdemona Chiang. (Seattle Children's Theatre, $20)


Sun March 8

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live Fred Rogers might be gone (RIP you lovely, lovely man), but his legacy lives on in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, an animated Daytime Emmy-winning PBS show for preschool-aged children that's based on the Neighborhood of Make-Believe from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and features characters of all shapes, sizes, and animal (and non-animal) persuasions. It's sweet and charming and kind of annoying but also one of my daughter's favorites, so this live theatrical production with all the DT characters ("filled with singing, dancing and laughter") seems like a no-brainer. LP (Paramount Theatre, 2 pm, $16—$76)


Musical Theater



Through Sun Dec 29

Head Over Heels Tunes by the Go-Go's pepper this musical loosely based on a 16th-century narrative poem by Sir Philip Sidney. A royal family learns of a fateful prophecy that may disrupt "the Beat" that supplies the rhythm to their kingdom. Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q, Bring It On: The Musical, the screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wrote the book and lyrics. (ArtsWest, $42)

Mrs. Doubtfire This is the world premiere of the musical Mrs. Doubtfire, a stage adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams film. After its run in Seattle, it goes straight to Broadway. Mrs. Doubtfire is directed by Jerry Zaks, a Broadway legend who won a Tony Award for directing the revival of Guys and Dolls in 1992, and was nominated again for his revival of Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler in 2017. CF (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $29—$169)

A Very Die Hard Christmas Marxiano Productions will restage last year's hit holiday musical from a script by the top-notch sketch comedy outfit the Habit (plus Jeff Schell), which peppers the rip-roaring action with songs, jokes, and more. (Seattle Public Theater, 7 pm, $26—$32)


Dec 31–Jan 5

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical The great disco diva gets the musical biography treatment, complete with a score full of her biggest hits—"Hot Stuff," "Love to Love You Baby," and more. (Paramount Theatre, $30)


Jan 14–19

Fiddler on the Roof Fiddler on the Roof is a musical about... oh, you know what Fiddler on the Roof is. The important detail here is that this version is directed by Bartlet Sher, a former Seattle theater director who has gone on to fanciness and fame and Tony Awards with unbelievably brilliant restagings of musical classics, including South Pacific and The King and I. A Sher production of an old musical is always a good bet. CF (Paramount Theatre, $35—$95)


Jan 16–March 22

She Loves Me Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, progenitors of the deathless Fiddler on the Roof, also wrote this sweet musical about two perfume store clerks who butt heads constantly—not realizing that they're also in a romantic letter-writing relationship thanks to a classified. Yes, it's the plot of You've Got Mail. (Jan 16—Feb 23: Village Theatre Issaquah, $38—$80; Feb 28—March 22: Everett Performing Arts Center)


Feb 7–March 1

Disney's 'Frozen' Stranger managing editor Leilani Polk wrote of the Disney film, "I have a warm spot in my heart for Frozen, Disney's second-highest-grossing animated film about a princess who sets out on a quest (with a group of helpful sidekicks, of course) to find her estranged sister after said sister's powers accidentally bring eternal winter to their kingdom." This magical story will be transposed to the stage in this Broadway-on-tour production, with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee. Just be warned that "Let It Go" will be stuck in your head for the next several years. (Paramount Theatre, $30+)

Thurs Feb 27

John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour The guy who starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch—the original stage show and then the movie—is coming to town. Not only did he star in it, he wrote the damn thing (with musical collaborator Stephen Trask). This is not a drill. He is a certified genius. He will tell stories from the show's 25-year history and sing songs from Hedwig, as well as some new music. He told me years ago he was writing a sequel. Maybe this is our sneak peek. CF (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $50—$65)


March 13–April 5

Sister Act Sister Act is based on the super-popular 1992 comedy/musical film starring Whoopi Goldberg. You know the premise: a raunchy lounge singer must go undercover in a convent to save her own life, hilarity ensues. This new staging will be directed by Lisa Shriver. (The 5th Avenue Theatre)


Dance



Through Sat Dec 28

George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker' If you haven't seen this Christmas classic since you were a kid, give it a go this year. In 2014, Pacific Northwest Ballet replaced its beloved Maurice Sendak set with one by Ian Falconer, who did the Olivia the Pig books, and I'm glad that they did. The new set is gorgeous in a Wes Anderson-like way, and it reflects the genuine weirdness and beauty in the story. I mean, the last 45 minutes of this thing is a Katy Perry video starring dancing desserts and a glittery peacock that moves like a sexy broken river. Bring a pot lozenge. RS (McCaw Hall, $27—$189)


Dec 6–15

The Hard Nut The brilliant ballet choreographer Mark Morris's update of The Nutcracker, now a 28-year-old classic in itself, transports E.T.A. Hoffman's story from 19th-century Germany to 1970s America. With production design inspired by the great Fantagraphics-published comics artist Charles Burns, this Broadway staging is gonna be weird, queer, and perhaps even John Waters-esque. (Paramount Theatre, $35—$90)


Dec 12–15

Donald Byrd's 'The Harlem Nutcracker' Acclaimed local choreographer Donald Byrd developed this adaptation of the cherished Christmas ballet for black American culture. This will be the performance of "phase one," which will include Act 1, "Party Scene" and Act 2, "Club Sweets." (On the Boards, free—$50)

Next Fest NW 2019 Velocity's annual Next Fest NW spotlights exciting new choreographers coming up in the Seattle dance scene. Lucie Baker, Shane Donohue, Marco Farroni, Vladimir Kremenović, and Hannah Rae will present pieces that play to this year's theme—"Ritual and Rebellion"—covering subjects such as "brutalist architecture, corporate sponsorship, queer coming of age, and Slavic mythology." Last year, Donohue put on a transcendently good display of weird-ass bravado during his solo performance in Kim Lusk's fabulous A Dance for Dark Horses, so I'm hoping he brings a similar energy to THIS SPACE FOR RENT, which sounds like a welcome send-up of the unholy alliance between capitalism and the arts. According to a preview in Broadway World, Farroni's (papi) will draw from the dancer's personal experiences, revealing "performance practice as a method to understand displacement, adaptation, love, memory, and trauma." Baker's Singing Over the Bones, inspired by "figures from Eastern European folklore alleged to be the restless spirits of women who have died unjust or untimely deaths," sounds eminently unmissable, too. RS(Velocity Dance Center)


Dec 13–22

Buttcracker V...the Last Thrust! This festive and raunchy holiday show promises glittery professional dance and holiday satire set to a hair-metal soundtrack...for the very last time. (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 7:30 pm, $22—$28)


Thurs Jan 9

Devotion: Flesh & Blood Pop-Up Performance Much-praised Italian-born, Seattle-based dancers Alice Gosti and Lavinia Vago will take to the galleries to respond through movement to the important traveling exhibition Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum. (Seattle Art Museum, 7 pm)


Jan 17–24

Xpress Whim W'Him's first production of 2020 is composed of three world premieres by three award-winning choreographers: Sidra Bell, founder of an eponymous dance company in New York; Ihsan Rustem, a Swiss choreographer who's collaborated with Whim W'him dancers in the past; and Whim W'Him's own Olivier Wevers. (Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 8 pm, $35—$60)


Jan 30–Feb 1

Brian Brooks Moving Company UW Creative Research Fellow Brian Brooks has developed dance pieces inspired by bodies on stage and within the realm of "immersive technologies." For this program, see three world premieres, including a solo by Brooks and two pieces for the ensemble, one of which is set to Partita for 8 Voices by Pulitzer Prize-winning violinist/singer Caroline Shaw. (Meany Center for the Performing Arts, 8 pm, $45/$53)


Jan 31–Feb 9

Cinderella The quintessential fairy tale gets the Kent Stowell choreography treatment with music by Sergei Prokofiev performed by the great Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra, a set by Tony Straiges, and fancy costumes by Martin Pakledinaz. (McCaw Hall, $25—$185)


Fri Feb 14

Dani Tirrell: Black Bois In Black Bois, which sold out its 2018 world premiere run at On the Boards pretty quickly, choreographer/dancer Dani Tirrell assembles a many-gendered supergroup of Seattle performers, each of whom could easily carry their own full-length show. Together they create a show about the irreducibility of black experience. Tirrell and the cast fight back against a world that tends to flatten and fragment blackness into digestible, dismissible bits and instead, gives you all of it—the pain, the rage, the joy, the grief, the eroticism, the spirituality, the madness, the clarity, the multiplicity of the individual, and the deep-rooted particularities of the communities. RS (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $40—$50)


Feb 15–16

Chop Shop This contemporary dance festival has presented performances from troupes and artists around the world, with the goal of reaching diverse audiences and connecting people of all abilities with dance instruction. This year's festival will bring Seattle and world premieres by OcampoWang Dance (New Jersey), Adam Barruch (New York) with Daniel Costa (Seattle), Eva Stone (Eastside), Omar Román De Jesús and Nicole von Arx (New York), Seda Aybay (Los Angeles), Ramona Sekulovic (Brooklyn), and Spectrum (Seattle). (Meydenbauer Center, $28)


Feb 20–23

Solo: A Festival of Dance I love solos. They hold the attention of a room like nothing else in the world of performance. They're like the cat in that old theater rule about never allowing cats onstage because it's all the audience will look at. That's because the cat, like the solo dancer, is completely unpredictable. Two dancers, even in an improv show, project a sort of ordered world. In a solo, anything can happen. If this iteration is the same as On the Boards' inaugural edition in 2018, expect a good mix of local and national dancers showcasing incredible choreography they'd have a hard time producing anywhere else—not because it's bad, but because venues rarely afford solo pieces big stages. RS (On the Boards)


March 13–22

One Thousand Pieces This feels like private programming. I've loved everything PNB has ever produced by Alejandro Cerrudo, the genius Spanish choreographer behind Silent Ghost (which was the balletic equivalent of rolling around in bed on Sunday morning) and Little mortal jump (which was the balletic equivalent of a really good indie rock show in college). So, yeah, I'm excited to see One Thousand Pieces, which sets his flat-out gorgeous choreography to "Knee 5," the best piece of music Phillip Glass has ever written. The double bill includes David Dawson's sharp, athletic, and aggressive Empire Noir—if you missed it in 2017, make sure you catch it this time. RS (McCaw Hall, $25—$185)



Cabaret & Burlesque



Dec 5–Jan 5

Wonderland Wonderland is divided into three short acts that make up a brisk 90-minute show. Hosted by the exceedingly charismatic JonnyBoy (Jonathan Betchtel), each act gets progressively naughtier, although the most scandalous thing an audience member sees is a jock-strapped ass and bare tits covered by pasties. The show has danger, but it's found in the cancan lines that occur mere feet from audience members' dinner salads. During the third act, two dancers performed an athletic duet that—when I saw it—nearly knocked over a birthday girl's wine glass. But it didn't. Everyone whooped. CB (Can Can, $19—$95)


Dec 12–29

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker A lascivious holiday show experience with sugar plum fairies, exciting clothes-dropping times, and other swanky fun. (Triple Door, $50—$80)


Dec 20–31

Voltage! Kink, luxury, and avant-garde fashion combine in Valtesse's signature style at this "futuristic sex dream" of a cabaret. Be sure to dress in red or black cocktail attire. (The Ruins, $65—$95)


Feb 13–16

The Atomic Bombshells in...J'ADORE! A Burlesque Valentine The boisterous Atomic Bombshells troupe has been instrumental in Seattle's burlesque revival, so for lovers of feathery, busty, glitzy fun, there's no better spectacle to attend for V-Day. (Triple Door, 7 pm, $30—$45)



Drag



Dec 5–Dec 24

The Dina Martina Christmas Show Watching Seattle drag legend Dina Martina perform is a bit like having a Christmastime flu. You will sit there, confused and warm, your thoughts disassociating, a fever addling your brain, while the holiday cheer twinkles all around you. Truly, there's no performer who is more like a strong dose of Nyquil than Dina Martina. She is cozy but disorienting. You will laugh without knowing why. Take her with alcohol and double the danger. CB (ACT Theatre, $27—$47)


Dec 6–29

The Christmas Killings at Corgi Cliffs Butch Alice once again stars as Becky June Beasley-Jones in this drag-filled send-up of Agatha Christie-type whodunits. (Cafe Nordo, $95/$115)

Jingle All the Gay! Last year, after seeing the new revamp of the beloved institution Homo for the Holidays, Chase Burns wrote: "The new performers are the standouts in Jingle All the Gay. Kitten N' Lou brought in Markeith Wiley and Randy Ford, two breakout dancers/performance artists who've been having a great couple of years performing around Seattle. Wiley plays the mailman, an important figure in any holiday story, and he's got to deliver lots of big, uh, packages. Ford plays Lil' Fruitcake, a femme voguing fruitcake who fucks shit up in the best way possible. Ford and Wiley's duets are highlights, as are the numbers from Seattle drag artist Abbey Roads, who brings solid musical theater chops and good comic timing. Also in this cast: New York City's Mr. Gorgeous, serving his uniquely tall and hilarious boylesque as the Little Drummer Boy." These favorites return, along with the UK's Reuben Kaye. (West Hall, 7 pm, $25—$40)


Fri Dec 13

Crossdresser for Christmas Few queens belt a Broadway hit like Ginger Minj. I once saw the RuPaul's Drag Race star perform her Crossdresser for Christ cabaret show to a sold-out crowd of bears (the gay kind), and her brassy singing brought the crowd to tears. By the end of it, I was drunk and singing along in the balcony. I'm pretty sure it will go down as the gayest night of theater in my life. Now that she's bringing a version of that showtunes-filled original show to Queer/Bar, maybe I can have the queerest night of theater in my life, too. CB (Queer Bar, 9 pm, $12—$200)


Dec 21–27

All I Want for Christmas is Attention Last year, in a preview of To Jesus, Thanks for Everything! Jinkx and DeLa, Christopher Frizzelle wrote: "BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are like peanut butter and jelly: two great tastes that taste great together. They were on back-to-back seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, they are both stunning drag queens from Seattle, they are both fiery political commentators, and they've never had a proper theatrical production for just the two of them." With To Jesus a smashing success, Jinkx and DeLa are back with another bid for your love. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $29—$69)


Wed Feb 5

Trixie Mattel: Grown Up 2020 Trixie Mattel once said that all her jokes are cries for help. If that's true, the poor girl needs an intervention. The drag queen and winner of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars has built an empire on morbid and strange drag humor, racking up impressive accolades inside and outside the cult of RuPaul, like a TV show on Viceland, a top-selling country album, and a sell-out tour with music from said country album. Mattel, a small-town clown from Wisconsin, has become the gay world's popular girl. Get your tickets now if they're still available. CB (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $37)



Circus & Acrobatics



Dec 13–15

Acrobatic Conundrum Presents: Unraveling As Rich Smith has written, "Acrobatic Conundrum trades the cheeseball spectacle of circus arts for the more expressive vocabulary of modern dance without sacrificing the athletic rigor associated with the form." This live-scored production stars vertical rope artists, including former members of Cirque du Soleil and Teatro Zinzanni and alumni of the Montreal National Circus School, in a dramatization of "themes of interdependence, mortality, and love." (Broadway Performance Hall, $30—$100)


Jan 16–26

Bohemia This "macabre and mystical" cabaret-style musical from Mark Siano and Opal Peachey, set in 1890s Prague, features the music of Dvoák and Chopin and art nouveau by Alphonse Mucha—plus "beautiful green fairies, aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and original songs." (Triple Door, $26/$34)


Through Sun Feb 9

A Night Like This Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner. (Teatro ZinZanni, $99+)


March 12–April 5

Moisture Festival 2020 Moisture Festival is devoted to the variety of performers Seattle has fostered over the years, from circus acts to comedians, burlesque dancers to musicians, and jugglers to tap dancers. Variété is the main, recurring event, with a rotating lineup, and there are also matinée and rather racier late-night versions. The bawdy Libertease Cabaret is for adults only and features burlesque dancers and scantily clothed aerial performers. There are also workshops, talks, and special opening and closing nights. (Hale's Palladium)


Podcasts & Radio



Sat Dec 14

Live Wire! with Luke Burbank Luke Burbank's Live Wire is an NPR-type variety program based in Portland, Oregon, featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians in conversation. This edition will feature comedian and screwy advice columnist John Hodgman and respected journalist and author Jon Mooallem. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $19/$24/$34)


Mon Dec 30

Sandbox Radio: Journey's End Sandbox Radio is an old-school-radio-style podcast that periodically stages fresh, fun, live shows. On New Year's Eve eve, celebrate with the voice actors, the Sandbox Radio Orchestra, and special guests the Drunken Tenor, Megan Renee Parker, and Mark Rabe as they stage a holiday story. (Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $25/$30)


Thurs Jan 16

Stuff You Should Know Stuff You Should Know hosts Josh Clark and Charles "Chuck" Bryant are taking their popular and informative podcast on the road. The live shows are much like the podcast: Josh and Chuck research the shit out of a subject (ayahuasca, the Satanic Panic, pizza) and tell you what you need to know, as well as what you didn't really need to know but might find pretty interesting anyway. And it works: Everyone might have a podcast right now, but not everyone does it well. Josh and Chuck, who've been hosting this thing for more than 10 years, get the formula right. KH (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $23—$34)


Mon Jan 20

The Guilty Feminist with Deborah Frances-White Join Deborah Frances-White if you've "ever felt like you should be better at feminism" for a live and lively recording of her hit podcast, which Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag) has hailed as "genius." (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $34)


Sun March 15

My Dad Wrote a Porno When Jamie Morton's dad "Rocky Flintstone" (not his real name) wrote (rather inept) erotic fiction, Jamie decided to turn it into a comedy podcast. If you love vicarious embarrassment, this is the show for you (and thousands of other listeners). (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $45—$55)


Performance Art



Dec 19–20

Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce MacArthur Grant-winning genius Taylor Mac is an unparalleled playwright and performer. Mac produces shows that are bombastic and colorful, somewhere between drag and cabaret and classical Greek tragedy, with the loudest costumes ever concocted, created by the equally genius designer Machine Dazzle. I'm betting Mac's new music-filled show about "Christmas as calamity" will be the highlight of Seattle's holiday show season. CB (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $47—$87)


Jan 23–26

Jaha Koo: Cuckoo In Cuckoo, South-Korean artist Jaha Koo stands onstage and talks with a bunch of R2D2-looking rice cookers about "the last 20 years of Korean history," which is the strongest premise for any performance I've heard of in awhile. Press materials indicate that Koo is using his extremely advanced rice cooker reprogramming skills as a way to discuss the "tragedy of a lonely life in a thoroughly technologized society," a trenchant tale of caution for city-dwellers in South Korea and South Lake Union alike. RS (On the Boards)


March 5–16

The GUSH Series: Raja Feather Kelly's 'UGLY' The second show in Washington Ensemble Theatre's GUSH series of "cutting-edge, experimental, contemporary theater" (to quote Rich Smith), Raja Feather Kelly's UGLY, which had its debut at Brooklyn's Bushwick Starr in 2018, is a dance/performance piece about asserting "black queer subjectivity in the mainstream" and features the performer "anointed in mustard yellow from head to toe and contained inside a clear box." (12th Avenue Arts, $25)


Special Events



Sat March 7

The Bachelor Live Watch the unintetionally campy drama of The Bachelor unfold onstage. (Paramount Theatre, $36—$200)


Comedy



Dec 6–22

The Judy Garland Christmas Special Crabgrass Productions portrays the dress rehearsal of Judy Garland's deeply uncomfortable 1963 Christmas television special, with Judy overwhelmed by terrifying alcohol-induced hallucinations and wreaking havoc on sugary Christmas tunes. Troy Mink plays Judy in this mean but reportedly very funny Christmas trainwreck. (Theatre Off Jackson, $22)


Tues Dec 10

Venus Envy Holiday Reunion Show! with Laura Love, Lisa Koch, Linda Severt, Linda Schierman This comedic quartet is made up of Seattle comedic institution Lisa Koch (co-progenitor of such classics as Ham for the Holidays), "folk-funk" songwriter Laura Love, vaudeville entertainer Linda Severt, and musician Linda Schierman. (Triple Door, 7:30 pm, free)


Dec 13–24

Sugar Plum Gary A misanthropic disposition combined with a strong satanist worldview distinguishes Sugar Plum Gary from other yuletide figures. Every year around this time, "somewhat beloved storyteller and comedian Emmett Montgomery" slips into a red onesie and takes the stage to give audience members completely unsolicited advice on how to best navigate the season, and it's often pretty funny if you're into dark, absurd humor. What's his favorite holiday decorating tip? In an interview with Brett Hamil in the late City Arts, Sugar Plum Gary gives his answer: I like to "find a dark place and put myself in a corner and wait," he says, with a creepy uncle grin. Merry Christmas. RS (18th & Union, $13—$22)



Stand-up



Tues Dec 10

Jay and Silent Bob: Reboot Roadshow with Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith Smith and Mewes, podcast co-hosts and the filmmakers behind the classic slacker comedy Clerks and its sequels, will appear in support of Smith's new directorial venture, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $38—$44)


Thurs Dec 12

The Gateway Show It's an experiment in stand-up: Four comics do their sets. Then these four comics get super, duper stoned. Then they perform again while occupying this much hazier headspace. Or attempt to perform again. Will the bake bring out another dimension of their comedy, or will they bomb, one by one, in forgetful spells of heaping laughter (or awkward pauses)? This sounds like an entertaining experiment, and they do it once a month. LP (Club Comedy Seattle, 8 pm, $15)


Dec 12–14 & 19

Wilfred Padua Dave Segal has described Wilfred Padua as "Seattle's funniest middle-school teacher by some distance." But let's not damn with faint praise (no disrespect to middle-school teachers): Padua has also had a lot of success in the POC-centered showcase Minority Retort and has performed previously at Bumbershoot, Bridgetown, Boring Time, and other festivals. (Dec 12—14: Comedy Underground; Dec 19: Laughs Comedy Club)


Fri Dec 13

Amir K Iranian American comic/actor Amir K is a wildly electric onstage and on-screen presence who has earned roles on MadTV and the MTV prank show Jerks with Cameras, aided partially by his vast repertoire of accents. While writing this blurb, I disturbed the peace in the office with obnoxiously loud guffaws, thanks to bits about delineating the behavior of various ethnic groups in traffic court, messing with racists on a plane after being regarded as a terrorist, dealing with a frustrating Time Warner Cable representative in India (incredibly relatable), interacting with his father (who doesn’t understand his comedy at all), and the stigmas attached to people of Middle Eastern descent in the United States. DS (Columbia City Theater, 8 pm, $20)

Trevor Noah: Loud and Clear Blessing: South African comedian Trevor Noah has control of the bully pulpit of Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Curse: He had to follow Jon Stewart in that slot. It's hard not to seem a tad second-rate replacing a vastly influential and beloved political-satire legend, but Noah's gamely making a go of it. He leverages his outsider status in America—how many other South African comics do you know?—to offer fresh slants on myriad social and political topics. DS (Tacoma Dome, 8 pm, $40—$95)


Dec 20–21

Andy Haynes Back in the '00s, Andy Haynes was one of the funniest people in Seattle, the proverbial big fish in a medium-sized pond full of discarded Amazon boxes. So, he did what any sensible stand-up comic would do—he moved to NYC to become a small fish in a Big Apple. The risky move has paid off with appearances on Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival, and a Comedy Central Half Hour Special. Haynes parlays a smooth, non-histrionic delivery into logically flowing sets that touch intelligently and mordantly on race, relationships, sexuality, depression, public transportation, substance abuse, and his own WASP-y looks (e.g., "I suffer from what some people call 'president face.'"; "I look like a senator's nephew."). DS (Laughs Comedy Club, 8 pm, $15)


Sat Dec 28

Never Naughty Seattle-raised Courtney Karwal (named Sammamish High's "never naughty" student in 2007) is now based in Los Angeles, where she was named Comic to Watch at Riot. She created the Funny or Die series Check Your Surroundings. Welcome her home to perform a set in which she'll read from her high school diary. (Rendezvous, 9:30 pm, $10/$15)


Tues Dec 31

New Years Eve Comedy Countdown with Guy Branum Writer/actor Guy Branum boasts of having served as "Staff Homosexual" on Chelsea Lately. He's also appeared on E!, on MTV (for whom he also worked on Punk'd), and in the film No Strings Attached, and his book My Life as a Goddess was included on NPR's 2018 Good Reads List. (Meydenbauer Center, 8 pm, 10:30 pm, $25—$50)


Jan 3–4

Derek Sheen Derek Sheen, whom former Stranger staffer Lindy West called "a human hug," will offer some of his tragic humor. (Laughs Comedy Club, 8 pm, 10 pm, $15/$20)


Jan 17–18

Dulcé Sloan Direct, confident, free of any sad-sack self-deprecation, Dulcé Sloan has been a hit as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, amassing plaudits from Variety, TimeOutLA, and the Steve Harvey Show, and winning a spot the NBC Stand Up Showcase. (Laughs Comedy Club, $15)


Sat Jan 25

Bill Maher Bill Maher shares his steadfast opinions on politics and life on his HBO show, Real Time. Hear what he has to say in his live stand-up routine. (Paramount Theatre, 8 pm, $36—$121)

Kathleen Madigan Midwest comic Kathleen Madigan, who skewers such subjects as the Southern school system, retirement villages, the news, and her parents, will bring her wonderfully deep, sardonic voice to the Seattle stage. (Moore Theatre, $28)


Thurs Jan 30

Model Minority: An Asian Womxn Comedy Show Watch Asian diaspora womxn bust stereotypes about "model minorities" at this Caracol Productions showcase, featuring such talents as Ellen Acuario, Stephanie Nam, Nisha Srinivasan, and others. Dewa Dorje will host. (Columbia City Theater, 8 pm, $15—$20)


Sat Feb 8

Gary Gulman The Boston comedian, who's been seen on 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, Crashing, and Last Comic Standing, as well as his own HBO special The Great Depresh, will bring his rock-solid comedy to our own gray city. (Neptune Theatre, 7 & 9:30 pm, $21—$33)


Sat March 7

Doug Stanhope Michael Ian Black once described Doug Stanhope as comedy's Charles Bukowski, likely because Stanhope is dark, offensive, vulgar, and sometimes downright brutal, his style a mix of volatile social criticism and anecdotal humor taken to self-hate extremes. Past subjects have included (but aren't limited to) abortion, his own alcoholism and self-defeating behavior, capitalism and how the US's idea of poverty is radically different than in other parts of the world ("Our landfills are third-world bling"), football, death, and everything in between. He has four comedy albums, three standup specials, a few books (the last was 2017's This Is Not Fame: A "From What I Re-Memoir"), and like seemingly all comics out there these days, he has a podcast (The Doug Stanhope Podcast), which he records on the road from whatever hotel room he's staying in. Be forewarned: if you offend easily, this show ain't for you. LP (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $49)


Wed March 11

Todd Barry with Guests This Bronx-born comedian has been slaying audiences with his deadpan stand-up since the mid-'80s. In addition to lending his voice to cult favorite shows like Bob's Burgers and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Barry continues to tour the country making headlines with his improv-heavy shows that tend to involve the crowd, with hilarious results. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $20/$24)


Fri March 13

Gabriel Rutledge Comedy Night Live In a recent interview, Central Comedy Show's Henry Stoddard and Isaac Novak singled out Gabriel Rutledge as perhaps the Seattle area's funniest comic—a view reinforced by Rutledge winning the Seattle International Comedy Competition and his frequent major TV appearances. Working in the familiar territory of family life and its countless frustrations and sorrows, Rutledge finds many quirky angles from which to squeeze distinctive humor out of everyday situations. His bit about parents desperately trying to snatch a couple of spare minutes to have sex might ring all too true for many. Happiness Isn't Funny is the title of his book and the guiding principle behind his unerring humor. DS (Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 8 pm, $20—$32)

Nikki Glaser: Bang It Out Maybe you recall her memorable appearances at the roasts of Rob Lowe, Bruce Willis, and Alec Baldwin—she's the tall, statuesque, bubbly blonde with the potty mouth and crass observations. She was active for a rather long time before finally enjoying a come-up in the past six years, and has a pretty long resume that includes a short-lived sex-themed Comedy Central talk show, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, a stint on Dancing with the Stars (she was eliminated the first round in 2018), and she just put out her first full-length comedy special on Netflix, Bangin', which she opens with an extended bit about the horror and devastation of discovering, for the first time, what a blow job was ("My mouth?! That's where candy goes, I can't believe you would put a dick there!"), accepting its inevitability, like death, and then discussing all the cultural shit that goes with it. She's funny as fuck. RIYL: Amy Schumer. LP (Neptune Theatre, 7 pm, 9:30 pm, $34/$134)


Improv



Through Sat Dec 21

Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas Mike Murphy and Jet City cast members reenact and trample over your fond Christmas memories with gleeful vulgarity. Not for the squeamish. (Jet City Improv, 10 pm, $17/$18)


Dec 6–23

A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol 2019 You may think you know the story of A Christmas Carol, but you have no idea. Watch a team of improvisers re-create Dickens's tale based on audience suggestions. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $15/$20)


Sat Dec 14 & Sat Feb 15

Miscast In Miscast, improvisers who've never seen a particular movie/TV show will be cast alongside scripted performers playing a character from said movie/show. It's always a goofy, unpredictable time as improvisers muddle through scenes that turn increasingly nonsensical. (Dec: The Pocket Theater, 8:30 pm, $10/$14; Feb: Rendezvous, $10/$14)


Jan 10–March 13

Ten Percent Luck Laugh machine improv hosts Yeah Okay will do their comedic thang with instruction and suggestions by a featured stand-up comic. (Northwest Film Forum, 7 pm, $13)


Sun Feb 16

Middleditch & Schwartz Improv unfolds on the big stage when Emmy-nominated Thomas Middleditch (Richard Hendricks of Silicon Valley) and Emmy-winning Ben Schwartz (most famous for playing Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation, but also in House of Lies and co-author of Things You Should Already Know about Dating, You Fucking Idiot) put on a two-person longform show. (Moore Theatre, 7 pm, $33—$68)


Fri March 6

Whose Live Anyway? The cast members of the Emmy-winning show Whose Line Is It Anyway?—including Greg Proops, Joel Murray, Jeff B. Davis, and Bellingham-born Ryan Stiles—will play their hilarious improv games onstage. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm)


Sketch



Fri Feb 28

Tim & Eric: Mandatory Attendance World Tour Comedy duo Tim & Eric of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (plus about a million other strange things) will return with a live show full of squirm-inducing humor.  (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $40/$90)